Skitch and the Bastard Part II

12 05 2010

We met Andy Bastard, yes Bastard, completely by chance one late night during our stay in Austin.

A slightly inebriated friend gracefully stumbled to an ATM machine that just so happened to be situated right outside the tattoo parlor at which the Bastard worked. Covered in tattoos and piercings from head to toe, the Bastard emerged from the parlor as our friend struggled to withdraw some cash.

“Well, hello pretty lady,” the Bastard spoke as he lit his first, of many, cigarettes.

A snarky response from my friend, an hour and a tattoo later, we bid farewell to the Bastard thinking it was our last moment with the man.

Two hours later, after returning to 6th street from our hotel, we made the trek down the lively street. All of a sudden, we spotted the Bastard in another tattoo parlor, made our way in and said hello. Immediately after I asked him where we should spend our time that night, he stood up, told his boss he was leaving and took us down the street to a bar that somewhat resembled the inside of haunted house.

It should be noted that the movie Where the Wild Things Are was playing on the TVs.

We sat down, the man took a shot of whiskey and one of the most interesting conversations I have ever had began.

Andy Bastard is a professional body piercer who splits time between a few different tattoo parlors on 6th street in Austin, Texas. He loves his lady, his cigarettes, his boy, booze and rock and roll, and if you mess with any one of those things, the Bastard will not be happy.

By day he is a proud piercer of flesh and at night he is the lead rocker of THE BEXAR COUNTY BASTARDS, a rock and roll band that will melt your face.

Bastard is living his dream, and he loves it. He knows what it’s like to live in a van. He knows what it’s like to battle his demons. He also knows what it’s like to change his stars and go from nothing to something.

He’s not a famous rock and roll celebrity living in a mansion, and that’s the way he wants it.  “That’s pretentious,” the bastard exclaimed multiple times.

He likes the little things and he values his passions more than a pay check.

The bartender made the “last call” announcement, the Bastard took his last shot and we bid farewell.

Shortly before last call, Skitch, a friend of the Bastard and a tattoo artist with a face tattoo that made him look like a lizard, walked in to the bar and invited us back to the parlor to shoot the breeze with everyone.

Running in to Andy Bastard and the lessons learned were two things I could not have predicted.  He was a very kind person that didn’t have to be.  He chain smokes, curses like a sailor, is graphic about his exploits, but also geniunely cares about the people he meets, if they’re not pretentious that is.

Every person has a story, and now that I have met the Bastard, I do my best to stop and hear them.





Hang in there. That’s just about all you can do…

11 03 2010

As I mentioned in the first post of our #wifiwhip series, this trip had very few plans. In fact, there were only two: get to Austin and stay connected the ENTIRE time. Both are coming to fruition.

But the one thing we told ourselves was that we would chronicle our whole journey as it happened, through each of our own perspectives, and that we had to live in the moment and soak everything in.

12 hours have flown by thanks to multiple cans of energy drinks, bags of fast-food and great conversations within the vehicle and with various passersby in different states.

As we entered Texas, we made a stop at a gas station to refuel and stretch, but little did I know it would evolve into a life-lesson, much like the road-trip itself. As I strolled into the surprisingly pristine restroom, a 15-second conversation led to self-meditation and contemplation.

“How are you sir?” I said to a man washing his hands.

“I’m well, sir.” he delightfully replied, “How are you doing?”

“Good, I’m hanging in there.” I responded.

“Well, hang in there. That’s just about all you can do.” the man stated, and walked away.

For some odd reason, that brief conversation struck me immediately and I began to think. The man was right.

I am beginning to realize, through this trip and life, that there are just some things I cannot control, no matter how much I want to. I may not be able to control the stock of Texas Cheesesteak Melts a Waffle House in Arkansas has on hand, the weather or the bladder size of fellow passengers , but I can control my own demeanor and attitude, among other things.

So when you wake up in the morning, don’t worry.  Just hang in there- because sometimes, that’s just about all you can do.

I owe this post to the man in the bathroom, as weird as that sounds.